I have a serious problem. A problem I will mourn when I no longer have it. It's an over abundance of tomatoes and a basil plant so prolific that it wants to become a shrub. What to do with all of these beautiful tomatoes? Salads, check. BLTs, check. Give some away, check. Pasta...
This is a recipe that I first shared in 2009 and one I love to make every year at this time when local tomatoes, zucchini, corn and fresh basil are abundant and easy to find at farmers' markets everywhere. I felt it was worth repeating as it's such a delicious recipe and one both my husband and I love.
This time, I used my prolific cherry tomatoes and some corn and zucchini I had just bought at the local farmers' market.
Flavored with fresh herbs, it's creamy sauce is made from the juice of the tomatoes, a little white wine and cheese. Sound good?
Before the summer harvest comes to an end, please give this wonderful pasta a try!
Summer Harvest Pasta
My Notes: You can use cherry tomatoes in this recipe, just cut them in half and use about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds. I like to use the smaller, mezze penne pasta. When you buy fresh corn at the farmers' market, cut the kernels off right away if you aren't going to use it and freeze in zipper bags for future use (don't forget to scrape off the corn 'milk' from the cobs too). I buy tomato paste in a tube so I can refrigerate it and use small portions such as this any time. I used Chardonnay wine, which is what I like to drink with dinner, but use any white wine that you enjoy - or substitute chicken broth or stock.
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 lb Penne Pasta (I used the smaller, mezze penne)
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
Fresh Kernels cut from of 2 ears of corn
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4-6 small zucchini, about 2 lb. total, cut into half-moons
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoons sliced or grated garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just barely tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
In a 12-inch oven proof saute pan over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the corn, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Return the pan to medium heat and heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, add the zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the corn. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Set the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more.
Add the pasta, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to the same oven proof frying pan and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.